Trio of Abingdon pubs facing an uncertain start to 2014

Oxford Mail: Tony Goulding, chairman of the Abingdon Campaign for Real Ale. Tony Goulding, chairman of the Abingdon Campaign for Real Ale.

AN Abingdon pub is on the verge of being sold, another has gone into receivership and Greene King has refused to deny rumours that a third will become a Tesco.

The pub giant says it is in a discussion with a potential buyer for the Grapes on High Street, but said details must remain confidential at this stage.

And last week, the Flowing Well at Sunningwell went into receivership, leaving those with Christmas bookings there in the lurch.

Greene King has advised anyone who has made a booking to contact the receivers O’Haras on 01274 800380.

The firm refused to deny remours that the Saxton Arms could become a Tesco.

A Greene King spokesman said: “While it is normal for us to review our pub estate from time to time, the Saxton Arms in Abingdon is not on the market. There is a tenant at the helm and the pub is open and trading as normal.”

Tony Goulding, chairman of the Abingdon Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch said he was shocked to hear about the Flowing Well.

He went on: “Abingdon has lost enough pubs already.

“The Grapes has been teetering for a while, and the Saxton Arms is another one.’’ With regard to The Grapes, Mr Goulding said that if any doubt about its future as a pub emerged, then CAMRA would be obliged to apply for status as a community asset.

He said: “We’ll put a community asset on it, we have got no choice.

“CAMRA is here to protect all the pubs.”

But he said he thought Wetherspoons, which opened opposite The Grapes on High Street in September, had been a good thing for the pubs in town in general, bringing more punters in.

Last week, the Oxford Mail revealed how Cross Keys landlady Lisa Rowberry had left the pub saying it “didn’t have a future”.

Related links

She claimed a newly-opened Wetherspoons had killed the pub’s daytime trade.

A Greene King spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the lessee of the Flowing Well has gone into receivership and because of this, the pub has closed temporarily.’’

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:40pm Fri 20 Dec 13

King Joke says...

Aren't Wetherspoon's grand?
Aren't Wetherspoon's grand? King Joke

4:45pm Fri 20 Dec 13

piper2011 says...

people of abingdon stop shopping in tesco ! its all that your town has now
people of abingdon stop shopping in tesco ! its all that your town has now piper2011

7:37pm Fri 20 Dec 13

wavydave says...

People vote with their money. If the service isn't up to scratch they'll go somewhere else simple as that. People say they're surprised about the Flowing Well but I'm not, the last meal I had there in the Autumn was pretty ropey
People vote with their money. If the service isn't up to scratch they'll go somewhere else simple as that. People say they're surprised about the Flowing Well but I'm not, the last meal I had there in the Autumn was pretty ropey wavydave

10:31pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Myron Blatz says...

Too-many public houses increasingly chasing too-few regular boozers - and it's all about 'footfall' and the money which people are prepared to pay. It's also all about quite dramatic changes in what we now deem to be important to the aocial fabric in our communities, and how we now spend not only our money, but also spend our increasingly precious non-working time. We have also changed our opinion about many things over the past 15-20 years, with drink-driving, anti-social behaviour due to alcoholic abuse, and the amazing growth in restaurants, cafe and fast-food alternatives to pubs. Yet perhaps more than anything else which has affected pubs in our cities, towns and villages has been the ever-increasing pressure placed on pub landlord and managers to return ever-higher profits, and the option for breweries to change use of sites, redevelop them, and even to selling them off. Personally, I get more emotional about the loss of locala garaves and petrol stations, main and sub post offices and small local shops in our towns and villages, than pubs. Merry Christmas!
Too-many public houses increasingly chasing too-few regular boozers - and it's all about 'footfall' and the money which people are prepared to pay. It's also all about quite dramatic changes in what we now deem to be important to the aocial fabric in our communities, and how we now spend not only our money, but also spend our increasingly precious non-working time. We have also changed our opinion about many things over the past 15-20 years, with drink-driving, anti-social behaviour due to alcoholic abuse, and the amazing growth in restaurants, cafe and fast-food alternatives to pubs. Yet perhaps more than anything else which has affected pubs in our cities, towns and villages has been the ever-increasing pressure placed on pub landlord and managers to return ever-higher profits, and the option for breweries to change use of sites, redevelop them, and even to selling them off. Personally, I get more emotional about the loss of locala garaves and petrol stations, main and sub post offices and small local shops in our towns and villages, than pubs. Merry Christmas! Myron Blatz

6:22am Sat 21 Dec 13

snapperdownunder says...

Just more hammering of the nails into the very essence of British village/town culture. After all, the pub, for centuries, has been not just a place for refreshment but a place of discussion and community. How I wish we had a similar thing in this country. Many around the world would give anything to have your inns/public houses.
Just more hammering of the nails into the very essence of British village/town culture. After all, the pub, for centuries, has been not just a place for refreshment but a place of discussion and community. How I wish we had a similar thing in this country. Many around the world would give anything to have your inns/public houses. snapperdownunder

3:52pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Anon Coward says...

You'd hardly call The Grapes an asset ! There's a reason its nearly always empty, and its not Weatherspoons !

As for the Flowing Well, I'm surprised its lasted this long given the extremely poor service and general disinterest in any customers other than their 'mates' that the staff have showed every time I've been in there since the last change of management.

All that's really happening is that some pubs are pulling their socks up and giving people what they want, the ones that don't are going bust, because at nearly £4 a pint people will vote with their feet, and wallet if its not upto scratch.
You'd hardly call The Grapes an asset ! There's a reason its nearly always empty, and its not Weatherspoons ! As for the Flowing Well, I'm surprised its lasted this long given the extremely poor service and general disinterest in any customers other than their 'mates' that the staff have showed every time I've been in there since the last change of management. All that's really happening is that some pubs are pulling their socks up and giving people what they want, the ones that don't are going bust, because at nearly £4 a pint people will vote with their feet, and wallet if its not upto scratch. Anon Coward

7:00pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Arnold.Brewer says...

is it just coincidence that Greedy King seems to have a lot of involvement with these pubs?
is it just coincidence that Greedy King seems to have a lot of involvement with these pubs? Arnold.Brewer

9:09pm Sun 22 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

snapperdownunder wrote:
Just more hammering of the nails into the very essence of British village/town culture. After all, the pub, for centuries, has been not just a place for refreshment but a place of discussion and community. How I wish we had a similar thing in this country. Many around the world would give anything to have your inns/public houses.
The pub culture in our fair country died when the smoking ban came in. It is time for the Government to let landlords decide their smoking policy, it may not affect town pubs that much, but it will be a boon to local and village pubs. The en-masse closures started with the smoking ban, yet those in power are still in denial
[quote][p][bold]snapperdownunder[/bold] wrote: Just more hammering of the nails into the very essence of British village/town culture. After all, the pub, for centuries, has been not just a place for refreshment but a place of discussion and community. How I wish we had a similar thing in this country. Many around the world would give anything to have your inns/public houses.[/p][/quote]The pub culture in our fair country died when the smoking ban came in. It is time for the Government to let landlords decide their smoking policy, it may not affect town pubs that much, but it will be a boon to local and village pubs. The en-masse closures started with the smoking ban, yet those in power are still in denial East Oxford Web Watcher

7:08pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Pub_Regualr says...

"Last week, the Oxford Mail revealed how Cross Keys landlady Lisa Rowberry had left the pub saying it “didn’t have a future”.
She claimed a newly-opened Wetherspoons had killed the pub’s daytime trade."

I disagree. Weatherspoons cannot be blamed for the exceedingly poor management style of Ms Rowberry. The Cross Keys lost customers because, despite many pleas, Ms Rowberry refused to accept that the whole point of the Cross Keys was that it was a sports bar. Without Sky Sports it was just a pub with absolutely no reason to go in. Coupled with her willingness to allow in "certain types" and to post inappropriate comments on their Facebook page regarding customers walking past just added to the reasons not to go in. As for "daytime" trade, was the Cross Keys open before 4pm before the Narrows opened? It never used to be!

If a pub wants to succeed in Abingdon then it needs to assess the market and offer something that other pubs in the town do not. There is no longer a dedicated sports bar in town, nobody wants to have to walk miles to the Midget or the Rugby club. The Cross Keys, prior to Ms Rowberry's arrival, was capable of showing several football or other sports matches at the same time and, as such, it was THE place to go to watch the "big game" in Abingdon.

It's far to easy nowadays to blame ones failings on anybody but yourself.
"Last week, the Oxford Mail revealed how Cross Keys landlady Lisa Rowberry had left the pub saying it “didn’t have a future”. She claimed a newly-opened Wetherspoons had killed the pub’s daytime trade." I disagree. Weatherspoons cannot be blamed for the exceedingly poor management style of Ms Rowberry. The Cross Keys lost customers because, despite many pleas, Ms Rowberry refused to accept that the whole point of the Cross Keys was that it was a sports bar. Without Sky Sports it was just a pub with absolutely no reason to go in. Coupled with her willingness to allow in "certain types" and to post inappropriate comments on their Facebook page regarding customers walking past just added to the reasons not to go in. As for "daytime" trade, was the Cross Keys open before 4pm before the Narrows opened? It never used to be! If a pub wants to succeed in Abingdon then it needs to assess the market and offer something that other pubs in the town do not. There is no longer a dedicated sports bar in town, nobody wants to have to walk miles to the Midget or the Rugby club. The Cross Keys, prior to Ms Rowberry's arrival, was capable of showing several football or other sports matches at the same time and, as such, it was THE place to go to watch the "big game" in Abingdon. It's far to easy nowadays to blame ones failings on anybody but yourself. Pub_Regualr

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree